Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Hanguranketha Palace

Hanguranketha Palace (Sinhala: හඟුරන්කෙත රජ මාලිගාව) is a royal palace located in the present Hanguranketha town in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.

Hanguranketha which is believed to have evolved from the name Sangaruwan-ketha (the field of Sangha) was known in ancient times as Diyatilakapura or Digiliya Nuwara (Abeywardana, 2004). The name Digiliya is mentioned in the Gadaladeniya Rock Inscription of Buvanekabahu IV (1341-1351 A.D.) and it has been identified with the present Hanguranketha town (Abeywardana, 2004). King Senarath (1604-1635 A.D.), as recorded in Rajavaliya, established this town and several later kings including Rajasingha II (1635-1687 A.D.), Sri Vira Parakrama Narendrasinha (1707-1709 A.D) and Sri Vijaya Rajasinha (1739-1747 A.D.) resided in Hanguranketha from time to time (Abeywardana, 2004).

The royal residence at Hanguranketha was first built by King Senarath and King Rajasinha II upgraded it to a palace after having fled the capital city of Kandy in the face of a court rebellion (Abeywardana, 2004; Amarasinghe, 1996; Wijesinghe, 2015) This palace has been described in detail in the book titled "A Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon" by Robert Knox (1641-1720 A.D.), an English sea captain who lived in Sri Lanka for 19 years as a captive of Rajasinghe II (Abeywardana, 2004; Knox, 1681; Wijesinghe, 2015).

The paddy field presently known as Vadana-paya is believed to be the site where the palace once stood (Abeywardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015). As is revealed in ancient resources, the palace building had been destroyed several times by the hands of invading armies and the final destruction happened on 15 March 1803 by the British army commanded by Colonel Bailey (Abeywardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015). 

Some of the remains of this ancient royal palace building have been used to construct the present Pothgul Viharaya at Hanguranketha. In 2020, the Department of Archaeology discovered the foundation of an ancient palace building of the Kandyan Period through an excavation in Pallemaluwa near the Hanguranketha Visnu Devalaya.

A protected site
The inner land of the palace and the tank situated in Yatihanguranketha in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Hanguranketha are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.


1) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka.  pp.244-245.
2) Amarasinghe, M., 1996. Ancient Royal Palaces in Sri Lanka. A dissertation submitted to the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka for the Master of Philosophy Examination. pp.iii-x.
3) Knox, R., 1681. An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies (1681). Richard Chiswell, London. pp.34-35.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 948. 1 November 1996.
5) Wijesinghe, T.K., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Nuwara Eliya Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-36-4. pp.29-30.

Location Map (approximate)
This page was last updated on 2 July 2022


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